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The Hospitality Cold Shoulder

I have a quite large family on my father’s side, though for a number of reasons there has never been much contact amongst all of us.

As an adult I have befriended one of my cousins, and my brother and I often spend time with him. A few years ago the three of us, to our joy, got an invitation to another cousin, “Eric”, for his 30th birthday party. We hadn’t seen him more than a few times in our adult years so this was a pleasant surprise. He lived with his wife in a small village where we hadn’t been before so we asked him if it would be ok to spend the night since it would be a bit of a drive. Yes, of course, he said, and sounded really happy about it.

The party was initially fun. Eric’s wife was a bit snotty and didn’t speak many words to us, and her apparently close friend, “Sandra”, was even a bit rude. But we stayed out of their way, thinking that maybe they don’t meet new people often, or something. Eric and the other guests were really nice. However, Eric was really partying and soon starting to get quite drunk so the other guests left one by one.

The history in our family is that the elder relatives are from another country. So we started talking about it and listening to evergreen songs from this culture that we all grew up with. This amuzed Eric a lot but seemed to really piss his wife and Sandra off. They immediately started ranting about how “horrible” the music was, “how can anyone listen to this sh*t” and loudly put on their type of music instead (the hit charts), totally ignoring Eric’s obvious disappointment.

So we tried to hang out with Eric in a corner, while the other two behaved like school yard bullies, whispering, giggling and giving us dirty looks.   Suddenly the two of them decided that they wanted to go out. Apparently they had already called a taxi, and stated that all of us would be going to a night club. We were not very familiar with the bigger city they wanted to go to, but we knew this club and it is a place that we certainly wouldn’t have a good time at and that had an entrance fee we would not be happy to pay, all three of us being students at the time. Eric was in no state to go anywhere so we politely suggested the obvious – that we stay with him in the house and we could all have a drink together when they come back from the club. Sandra snapped, saying that we had no right staying in the house and it was their decision as hosts what they want to do. (Yes, the friend said this.) Eric was hardly realizing what was going on, but when his wife tried to literally drag him towards the door, he protested, wanted to sit down and wondered where those lovely old songs had gone. The wife ostentatiously shut the lights. If we hadn’t all been drinking, we would, of course, have left and driven home at this point, but there was nothing else to do but to agree and help them outside with poor Eric.

The taxi was already waiting. We realized that they had ordered a regular sized taxi and not a mini bus (common here and for the same cost as a regular) so obviously all six of us couldn’t fit in the taxi. We quickly got most of our things from inside, but trying to say that there were more of our items upstairs, they said “Leave it! You don’t need it in the club.” So there we stood, in the middle of nowhere – Eric’s wife quickly locking the door to the house and jumping into the taxi with Eric and Sandra. Before they closed the door they shouted that there would be a bus leaving soon and that we could call their cell phones when we got to the club. And the taxi drove away.

We were baffled. We went to look for the bus stop, and found that the last bus had left quite some time ago, thinking they probably knew about that. So, our options? Spend a lot of money on another taxi and go look for these awful people, in a club we don’t want to be at and in a town that is unfamiliar to us, and even further away from home than we already were? And was it even sure they would be there and that we would find them? We knew there wouldn’t be any pub in the small village we were in, and taking a taxi to go looking for one would probably be pointless since it would soon be closing time for everything but the biggest clubs. So we went to our car, slowly parked it right outside their house, thinking that we would have our last beers and some sandwiches that we luckily had in the car and sit and chat until they came back. We only had the number to Eric’s cell phone and called him but no answer. We actually had quite a good time in the car, given the circumstances, but got tired after a while and tried to sleep in the small and uncomfortable car. Thank god it was summer.

The next morning they still hadn’t come back. We phoned and sent several messages to Eric, but nothing. We would soon be sober enough to dare to drive, but we had some important things left inside the house. And we certainly didn’t feel like ever visiting again.

Around noon Eric and his wife suddenly show up! They happily explain that it was a long taxi ride to the club so to save money they went to Eric’s parents’ house to sleep afterwards since it was closer. They didn’t ask what we had been doing and acted totally unaware of the fact that we had to spend the night in our car. They even talked about the yummy brunch that they had ate before they left! I did however, see a little glimpse of shame in Eric’s face.   We got our things and drove home, and haven’t spoken to them since.

We speculated afterwards that maybe, for some reason, Eric hadn’t told his wife that we were coming and that she thought that we were crashing the party. But there are no old grudges that we know of and we were nothing but nice. Unbelievable how anyone can behave like that – and how someone can be such a door mat to one’s spouse.   1210-10

{ 52 comments… add one }
  • Cydrius December 16, 2010, 8:37 am

    That’s… beyond rude. That’s sociopathic!

  • Alexis December 16, 2010, 9:36 am

    Yes, they were stunningly rude, BUT, asking to spend the night? On your first visit? Really? That was a big imposition. I think that was the (again, very rude) wife’s point.

  • Debbie December 16, 2010, 9:57 am

    Alexis, agree it may have been rude to invite oneself to spend the night, but the wife’s actions went above and beyond rude. To lock your guests out of the house and force them to spend the night in their car??? I can’t think of ANY circumstance in which that is justifiable.

  • DGS December 16, 2010, 10:06 am

    I wouldn’t have asked to spend the night on the first visit (and I wonder if Eric, who from the story, seems to have been terrified of his wife, didn’t spring this on his wife at the last minute and got the full wrath of her and Sandra), but the way Eric and his wife acted was abhorrent. That’s beyond rude, as one of the previous posters has said. That’s outrageously rude. No wonder you no longer speak to Eric and his wife.

  • Merrilee December 16, 2010, 10:10 am

    Yes, the OP may have been a bit OTT in asking to stay the night, but the OP asking to spend the night does not at all justify the wife’s behavior.

    That was beyond the pale. Don’t want guests in your home? Then tell them you’re afraid they cannot stay the night at the outset. Once people are there, you are polite and you are a good hostess — whether or not you want them there — her spouse agreed to have them stay, and at that point there is nothing to do but be polite and get through it. You don’t ditch your guests like that. What an awful woman. There is no justification for her behavior.

  • Sarah Peart December 16, 2010, 10:13 am

    I have to disagree with Alexis. They did ask in advance if they could stay and first visit or tenth visit, once you say yes you have to accept that the decision is made. In my opinion it was Eric´s role to let them know that his wife had changed her mind, or that he had given the invitation without asking her and was sorry to let them know that he could no longer offer them a bed for the night. What you cannot do is subject your guests (and once you have invited them that is what these people were) to rudeness or in this case major inconvenience. I would have had it out with the wife and then Eric, because even if this would be a bit assertive in a social situation, I would never be able to visit again, given the reception I had received the first time.
    You never get a second chance to make a first impresssion!

  • Shaw December 16, 2010, 10:15 am

    @Alexis- They were not only relatives, but students traveling to visit for the party. I think asking ahead of time if they can crash there after the party wasn’t rude at all. If it was a problem, Eric was the 30-year-old and could easily have said no, if it was inconvenient (knowing that it would have been at the risk of their not attending).

  • Louise December 16, 2010, 10:18 am

    Even if it is rude to ask to spend the night at someone’s house, it is astronomically more rude to agree and then treat your guests that way. I don’t care if Eric agreed to guests without his wife’s OK. If my boyfriend surprised me with overnight guests, I wouldn’t be happy, but I assure you they’d be spending the night in the guest bedroom, not the car. I wouldn’t punish them for my boyfriend’s lapse in judgment.

    Sandra and Eric’s wife sound absolutely horrible. If Eric’s wife’s goal was to kill a relationship between Eric and his cousin, well, mission accomplished. I think Sandra and the wife took advantage of the drunken Eric, but if I were him, I’d be falling over myself to apologize to the OP.

  • livvy December 16, 2010, 10:27 am

    @Alexis – asking to stay the night might be a little unusual, but they are family members, and Eric did agree. He certainly could have said no, claimed not to have enough room, made a thousand excuses, etc. If the wife had a problem with it, she should have directed her rudeness at her husband, privately, not the guests.

  • Jo December 16, 2010, 10:28 am

    @Alexis, I don’t feel asking to spend the night after a big party is an imposition at all. Most people when hosting a large celebration with alcohol would be prepared to put up a few extra guests to avoid any drinking and driving if necessary. Not to mention the OP is family, and invited from out of town.

  • Xtina December 16, 2010, 10:31 am

    I don’t think the OP asking to spend the night was necessarily a bad thing, but Eric probably should have told them that he’d need to speak to his wife before saying “yes”. That COULD explain some of the rudeness from wife and Sandra. At any rate, wife and Sandra’s treatment of the OP and party was really, really bad. Even if, in her eyes, they have intruded or were unwelcome, there is still no call to be this rude, demand your guests participate in activities they don’t want to, and then go off and leave them stranded outside your home, with nowhere to go, while you go and party the night away and don’t come back until the next day. I think wife/Sandra knew exactly what they were doing.

    Eric was pretty spineless in this whole thing–he’s as much to blame for not taking better care of his guests, but considering that he was very drunk, I guess he didn’t know what was going on (yet another reason not to drink until you’re incoherent).

    However, I hate that the budding relationship with family (Eric/OP) crumbled over this incident. Too bad it turned out this way.

  • Lauren December 16, 2010, 10:33 am

    You may think it very rude but it certainly does no merit behavior like that. All she need have done was say no and the OP could have arranged different accommodation, it isn’t like she was told no and then declared on arrival they had nowhere else to go.

  • Louise December 16, 2010, 11:51 am

    I think that asking if you can stay over at someone’s house breaks the rules of etiquette because it puts the hosts in an uncomfortable, on-the-spot situation. From that perspective, it’s rude.

    But for a lot of us, blood is thicker than water and we’re willing to break etiquette rules for family. I wouldn’t mind one bit if my cousin or my boyfriend’s cousin asked to spend the night. I would rather they do that than spend money on a hotel or drive 4 hours or anything like that. Under those circumstances, I consider asking to stay the night to be a relatively (hee hee, pun!) minor etiquette violation because no one really minds.

    Eric’s wife minded here, but that’s not the OP’s fault, that’s Eric’s fault. And it’s Eric’s wife and Sandra’s fault for involving the OP in the nonsense that ensued. Eric and his wife should have hashed it out in private, Sandra should have stayed out of it, and the OP should have had a fun time oblivious to what happened behind the scenes.

  • Harley Granny December 16, 2010, 12:02 pm

    I have no problem with the fact that they asked to spend the night. It would have been a rude if they showed up and then expected to stay the night. They were issued an invitation, explained the situation in advance and recieved the OK to spend the night. No breech there.
    My husband has 33 cousins on his mother’s side and this is a common occurance.
    I think the wife acted horribly and she and her evil friend decided act like teenage girls. If you notice this bad behavior began after Eric got drunk.
    Who knows what charming wifey told Eric the next day. You probably got the shameface look after he figured out what went on.
    I hope you don’t keep this from becoming friends with your other cousins. Ours are from all walks of life and we have a blast when we all get together. I’d even give Eric another chance without the wife.

  • Maitri December 16, 2010, 12:26 pm

    That’s when you look the wife dead in the face and say, “Wife, we had asked to spend last night at your home and Eric had said that we could. We had nowhere else to go when you left us stranded in front of your house last night. We had to sleep in our car.” Wait for response.

    People like that deserve to be told to their face how horrible they behaved.

    It’s possible that Eric was so drunk that he wasn’t aware of what was going on, so I think the blame should be on the wife. And if he hadn’t known (perhaps the wife told him that the OP was staying at a hotel instead), then telling the wife to her face how badly she behaved also lets him know what she did to him when he was drunk.

  • AS December 16, 2010, 12:56 pm

    I don’t know what is the etiquette about crashing in one’s place on their first visit (it is not as if they didn’t know Eric, and hence it was not the first time that he was meeting them). Even if OP and his/her brother and other cousin did breach etiquette, Eric had the choice of saying a “no” right away. When he did agree to let them stay, it is their responsibility as a host to be hospitable. Eric’s wife’s and Sandra’s behavior were atrocious! Eric was drunk by late in the evening, and hence he was in no form to defend his cousins. But did he at least apologize later? If not, he is just as bad as his wife and her friend (who seems to be the boss witch!).

  • Serenity December 16, 2010, 1:00 pm

    Strongly disagree with the posters saying it “may” have been rude to ask the spend the night on the first visit. The OP clearly stated it was a long drive, and there was going to be alcohol involved. They asked ahead of time, before agreeing to come to the party, and was given the enthusiastic OK of their cousin, who lives in the house and extended the initial invitation. Not even close to rude….and definitely not an excuse for the wife’s abhorrent behavior. Here’s hoping Eric wakes up and realizes what a horrid person he married.

  • Cammie December 16, 2010, 1:36 pm

    To do this to a member of your family? Does Eric’s wife not realize that the story will be passed on down through her in-laws? This is the kind of action that will be talked about for YEARS to come. To some Eric and his wife will forever be the couple that after inviting them to spend the night, locked out their cousins and made them sleep in the car.

    Stories like this confirm to me that highschool is not an institution but a state of mind.

  • Chelsey December 16, 2010, 1:37 pm

    @Serenity: I agree. Based on the fact that they knew ahead of time there would be drinking and that Eric is family–whether or not they’ve seen each other in a while, you still have an obligation to family–it wasn’t rude at all for them to ask to spend the night.

  • ferretrick December 16, 2010, 1:57 pm

    It is not rude to ASK if you can spend the night. It is rude to EXPECT that the person will say yes. If you ask and they decline, you graciously say you will still be there and make other travel arrangements. It would be rude to make coming at all conditional on being allowed to spend the night, but there is nothing wrong with asking the question. If they say yes but really mean no because they 1) didn’t ok it with the other members of the household or 2) lack a backbone, that’s on them.

  • NotCinderell December 16, 2010, 2:20 pm

    It’s not rude, IMO, to accept an invite only under certain conditions. When my distant cousin got married, I was a broke student without a car living about 150 miles away from where she lived. She and I are friendly, even though we’re very distantly related, but she doesn’t know my parents or most of my immediate family very well (and they all lived several hundred miles away and wouldn’t have made the trip), so I was invited and they were not.

    When I received the invite, I called and let her know that I’d love to come, but I couldn’t afford a hotel room and the last bus would leave the area before the wedding was over. Did she know someone who would be at the wedding who would put me up for the night? She said yes, put me with a couple around our parents’ age that she knew from synagogue, and they were both my hosts for the night and my ride to and from the bus stop and the wedding. I greatly appreciated their hospitality, and they were gracious hosts who were happy to help out.

    If someone presents an acceptance conditional upon being able to stay the night, the host always has the option of saying “that isn’t possible,” and risk losing a guest. If my cousin had said that no, she knew nobody who could put me up, I would have been in the position of saying, “I’m sorry, then, I can’t make it. Best wishes for a bright future.” The OP in the story asked if her cousin could put her and her brother and other cousin up for the night, and if that wasn’t possible, the cousin could easily say “Sorry, but I can’t,” at which point OP could say, “That’s too bad. Have a lovely birthday, and we’ll be thinking of you.” No harm, no foul.

  • Allie December 16, 2010, 2:35 pm

    One person points out that Eric was too drunk to accept responsibility- surely it’s an ettiquette breach itself for the host to get so drunk they can’t do their duties as a host?

  • Jillybean December 16, 2010, 2:38 pm

    I’m not sure what asking to stay the night has to do with anything. It’s speculation that Eric’s wife was upset at the fact that Eric agreed to let them crash there. That may be the case, but we have no way of knowing. It’s just as possible that Eric’s wife is simply a nasty human being who treats people appallingly because it amuses her to do so.

    Further – anyone thinking that Eric gets off the hook because he was too drunk to defend them should think twice. I’d argue that a polite host doesn’t get so wasted that their guests have to fend for themselves or defend themselves against such horrid behavior. Sounds like Eric was practically ready to pass out – not a shining example of good host if you ask me.

  • Simone December 16, 2010, 2:59 pm

    Wow. I can’t believe someone would even do this. What did she think would happen? If she was really encouraging them to drink drive and go home (which is my guess) then not only was her plan morally and legally wrong, but stupid and ineffective (because she locked their stuff inside the house) as well.

    My husband invited someone who was a total stranger to me to stay at our house once. Was I livid? Yes. Did the guest have any idea that I was livid? Oh, heck no.

  • Ali December 16, 2010, 3:38 pm

    This is why it’s generally good to have a designated driver no matter what. Still, sounds like his wife is jealous of his family. That’s weird.

  • QueenofAllThings December 16, 2010, 3:41 pm

    This is one of the most bizarre stories I’ve ever heard. It’s almost like a Grimm’s Fairy Tale – the young students were lured in to be ignored, mocked and mistreated. Assuming there’s no back story, this is beyond rude – it’s downright malicious. It sounds like Wife and Sandra are psychotic ‘mean girls’, bent on humiliating their guests – and (giggle, giggle) wouldn’t it be funny to lock them out and see what they do? One hopes that Eric sobers up and realize what he’s in for.

  • Adica December 16, 2010, 4:18 pm

    I don’t see why it would be rude for a few out-of-town relatives (especially students) to ask if it would be ok to spend the night there. It’s not like they invited themselves to the party or got there and said, “Oh, by the way, we’re spending the night.” They asked in advance if it was ok and were given no indication that it was not. It’s not like they had children.

  • karma December 16, 2010, 4:49 pm

    It almost sounds like Eric may have misrepresented the guests to his wife. It sounds as if he didn’t tell her that he had given them the option to stay, perhaps even letting her think they were just people who wouldn’t leave!
    I agree that asking to stay was an imposition, but I also think the wife had a completely different understanding of the situation than did the “guests”.
    At the end of the day, this is really Eric’s bad.

  • TheOtherAmber December 16, 2010, 4:59 pm

    I’m going to throw another perspective at this. It sounds to me like this is taking place in Europe – some of the terms and phrasing, such as “village”, are much more common European terms then elsewhere. There’s also a lot of ethnocentrism in Europe, and in some places a lot of disdain for anything older or traditional especially in the younger generation. It sounds to me like the wife is part of the social group that considers anything like that to be beneath her. If the OP aren’t of that group, if they’re of a slightly different ethnic group, if they’re of a lower social standing, then the wife likely was apalled at having to socialize with these people in her own house.

    Not saying it’s an excuse, it’s definitely not! Just suggesting a reason why the wife might have been so outrageously rude.

  • Goldie December 16, 2010, 5:11 pm

    I like how wife and Sandra locked the guests out of the house *with the guests’ things still inside*, and did not let the guests go get their things when they specifically wanted to. Not letting people spend the night at your house is one thing, but this is just irrational – you don’t let them stay, and you don’t let them leave either. Insanity.

  • mean girls suck December 16, 2010, 6:24 pm

    An invite that includes travel and alcohol among college students invites an overnight stay, IMHO. Unless this story is really slanted and massive details are being left out, it sounds as if the wife and friend are the sort of mean people who target anyone new and unknown, figuring they are ripe for bullying. Good on the OP for making the best of it and not losing their cool! I pity Eric, though really, he chose her!

  • LilyG December 16, 2010, 8:51 pm

    I think about 1am, I would have broken in through a side window and slept in a real bed. What hateful people!

  • A December 16, 2010, 10:25 pm

    I think it depends on your level of comfort with the hosts when your speaking about asking to stay the night. My SO and I are the only two in his family who live in the main metropolitan area and the rest of his family lives in a small town about 3hours away. We get asked many times if we can put someone (often times up to 4-5people) up for a night or two while they need to be up in “the cities”. I love having people over and I can’t recall ever saying “no” to anyone. If you aren’t comfortable enough with your friends and family to ask that sort of question, well…maybe you should skip the party.

    Of course, all that being said, that wife…WOW, she sounds like something special.

  • Louise December 17, 2010, 3:02 am

    I can forgive Eric for getting blotto on his 30th birthday.

  • Sharon December 17, 2010, 3:31 am

    I am just very grateful to the OP and those who shared the car with her that they did not drive while drunk, even though it meant sleeping in the car. THANK YOU!

    I wish everyone had that much sense.

  • Ginger December 17, 2010, 4:52 am

    It’s weird that people think it’s rude that they asked to stay the night. I don’t really understand the people that get upset about letting guests crash the night. We lived about 6 hours away for a few years and I can’t count the number of people that rang – family, friends and acquaintances and asked if they could stay at our place on the way through. We loved having them stay the night. It’s not much of an imposition really. I guess it just depends on the type of person you are.

    What a horrid night but at least you got a good story to tell! I think theotheramber makes some good points.

  • Bint December 17, 2010, 5:34 am

    Yep, I would have smashed a window and got in. My stuff in there, and I’m not sleeping in my car. Obviously I’d then pay for the window to be fixed.

    Major etiquette faux pas from Eric – just plain meanness from the women.

  • Mary December 17, 2010, 8:07 am

    “I think about 1am, I would have broken in through a side window and slept in a real bed. What hateful people!”

    That was my first thought, but their luck would have been to be caught by local police or reported by a neighbor to the police and I’m pretty sure that cousin’s wife would not have responded to calls to her cell phone in that case either! At least they could have spent the night on a nice comfy cot in the local jail.

  • Lady Lelan December 17, 2010, 9:53 am

    I am still baffled at the rudeness of this woman. I think that given the circumstances, I’d have taken all my belongings out from the house and left it straight away, even if it meant sleeping in the car so as not to take the road after having drunk.

    Eric’s spineless behavior is definitely not forgiveable either.

  • winter December 17, 2010, 10:38 am

    A little late commenting, but hey….the OP states this was a small village and gives the impression there were no hotels, etc. but it’s obvious there was a taxi service, bus service and clubs—which where I’m from means it’s a fairly large place that had to have had motels, etc. if there was any thought that someone would need to drive home, don’t drink at the party. always leave yourself with many options at the end of the day, instead of with none. you need to be in control of the situation, and not be left out in the dark because of someone else’s rudeness. Many etiquette problems would be solved, as shown in the last couple of posts here, if people grew up, got a spine, and realized that THEY control their lives, and not their host or roommates.

  • NotCinderell December 17, 2010, 12:52 pm

    Winter, I do realize that the OP and her brother and cousin didn’t exactly leave themselves with much of an escape clause if things went horribly wrong, but they were young, and who expects things to go *that* horribly wrong? I think that their failure to plan for egregiously horrid behavior on the part of their hosts might make them naive, but it doesn’t make the offenses against them any more their own fault.

  • Bint December 17, 2010, 4:21 pm

    “A little late commenting, but hey….the OP states this was a small village and gives the impression there were no hotels, etc. but it’s obvious there was a taxi service, bus service and clubs—which where I’m from means it’s a fairly large place that had to have had motels, etc.”

    Winter, in Europe a small village has buses that stop running at 9pm by the latest, a taxi service that’s one man that does the same, and the OP pointed out that the club was in fact in a city some distance away, not in the village itself. The chances of there being a hotel are tiny – and if there were, it would probably be way out of the average student’s budget.

    Etiquette-wise, I think the OP did everything right – they checked they could stay and were told it was fine, so there was no need to have a designated driver. Plus the etiquette of leaving people who have been drinking and expecting to stay no way to get home is unbelievable. I have had to put up drunks before, against my wishes, because you just cannot let a person who’s been drinking drive home.

    The village taxi is also incredibly unlikely to drive further than ten miles. I managed to get a taxi back from a friend’s wedding recently, to the tiny village I’m from – it was eight miles, the driver didn’t want to go and I had to direct him. He charged me a bomb as well. Even in south east London it’s very difficult to get a taxi home because they won’t get a fare on the way back into town. After midnight coming out of central London I’m really going to struggle to get home and would have to walk at least a mile of it.

    What these hosts did broke so many rules: awful treatment of guests, reneging on hospitality, effectively holding their possessions hostage, abandoning them, and no apology whilst rubbing their faces in the fact they kept them waiting in the morning so they could have the food they should have been offering the people they’d agreed to put up. Disgusting.

  • Other Allie December 17, 2010, 4:46 pm

    I don’t think it was at all rude to ask, in advance, to stay the night, especially given that this is a relative and they are students coming from out of town for a birthday party. The wife and her friend were clearly conspiring as to how to get rid of these three. I am reminded of the old story about a god in disguise as a humble beggar knocking on doors and looking for food and shelter, finding none at the wealthier houses, but finding an older and not well-to-do couple who took him in and shared what little they had. I hope there is some kind of justice in this universe for people who behave in this way.

  • Lynne December 17, 2010, 5:44 pm

    Winter — don’t drink at the party?

    There was NOT any thought that they would need to drive home. The party was at the house where *they were supposed to stay the night* and no plans had been made to leave the house.
    By time things went wrong, the decision to drink or not was long past.

    Also, the club mentioned was in a different, larger city. There is no reason to believe that there was a motel in safe walking distance of the house — the OP expresses doubt that there would even be a pub. Even with a motel available, the students would likely have chosen the original plan to sleep in the car: they already mentioned that the taxi fare and club entrance fees were outside of their budgets.

    The OP did relinquish control of the situation, but only by trusting that his relatives would honor their agreement to host him for the night. People have to trust other people to a certain extent in order for anything to function in life.

    The OP’s account of his actions suggest that he behaved in an honorable, respectful way — not that he was spineless.

    I too, however, would probably have confronted the woman the next morning, because it is very likely that the drunk cousin will never know the details of what occurred.

  • Kat December 17, 2010, 6:23 pm

    Winter – in the scenario you’re describing, the etiquette problem wouldn’t be solved at all. The OP would not have had to sleep in the car, but the bad manners of the hosts would still be a definite issue.

  • Sarah Peart December 19, 2010, 3:56 am

    I have to add my voice to those people correcting Winter. Currently I am living in Lausanne, Switzerland, there the last bus out – the one you need to get you home leaves at 23h45. That means people don´t even think of buses as an option. The tsxis will only go a certain distance and beyond that distance you have to pay the return journey in advance. I mean if you live a 40 dollar (or the equivalent) ride from the centre you pay him 80 upfront before he accepts you (and then any other incidentals). A student would never leave themselves in that situation – believe me!! In a way I feel this is off the topic but does underline why we humans invented this “illogical” idea of etiquette; to help others because a stranger can get into trouble in an unknown area extraordinarily quickly!

  • Strain Of Thought December 19, 2010, 9:26 am

    Ugh, some of you people trying to justify the wife’s behavior, or put the responsibility on the guests, make my blood boil. You’ve obviously had the privilege of going through life blissfully unaware that there are a frightening number of perfectly ordinary looking sociopaths out there, and when you hear about their exploits in creating suffering for their own personal amusement you won’t believe it because of some bullcrap about trusting in basic human goodness. Listen up: people like you are the reason people like that can get away with what they do. Those girls will lie, cheat, and steal, they will cause car accidents, they will ruin workplaces, they will let housefires start, they will fabricate crimes and get people arrested for giggles. If they are capable of justifying *this* behavior to themselves, they are capable of locking someone out of the house without their things when it’s below freezing outside.

  • Cat December 19, 2010, 6:51 pm

    And I thought I had the most horrible relations in the world! I stand aside for the OP to assume the crown. Ye gods and little fishes!

  • Enna December 20, 2010, 11:39 am

    Alexis – asking if it is okay to stay is not a faux pas: it is not unresonable espeically since it was agreed in advanced. If Eric didn’t tell his wife then she should’ve made her grievences towards him about having guests round who she doesn’t know. If I had a b.f or hubbby who did this I’d just talk to the cousins so I got to know them better. It’s not unreasonable – anything could happen like if a guest becomes unwell e.g. migrane or sudden cold etc besides having alcohol around.

    Eric is to blame as well he shoudln’t have got so drunk – it’s been mentioned in a previous post that wife’s behaviour went bad when he got drunk. Does he do that often? Anyways I wouldn’t want to take a drunk husband out clubbing I’m surprsied the taxi driver drove him – in UK if someone vomits in the taxi the person gets fined for the cleaning costs and the taxi driver looses out on any future fares s/he could make that night.

    Locking people out the way the wife did was unthinkably rude and dangeorus – what if you didn’t have the car to go to? What if the OP had a medical condition and the meds were still in the house? Also not allowing you to get the rest of your stuff and expecting you to make your own way to the club and not even bothering to return? That is bad. Was she really drunk too?

    Her behaviour was beyond reason. I would be careful about meeting up with Eric and his wife again at their home. I would only do so if it was neutral ground where the OP can get to and from easily. And to arrange plans in advance – carry on plans reagardless and if Eric or wife or Sandra try to divate make excuses and go home.

  • NyxErebus December 20, 2010, 3:32 pm

    @TheOtherAmber – that’s exactly what I was thinking considering how pissed Wife and Sandra got about the cultural songs. Sounds as if she doesn’t much accept her husband’s ethnic background and wants to cut him off from it.

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